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Commuters Say Traffic In New York City Is An Accident Waiting To Happen

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As life begins to return to normal in New York City, so is the traffic, and commuters say the situation is not only an inconvenience but an accident waiting to happen.

From the ground up, you can hear and see just how bad traffic is on 11th Avenue in Manhattan.

Gridlocked jams are agitating drivers, and some block the intersection, preventing pedestrians from safely getting across the street.

"As a pedestrian, do you feel safe?" CBS2's Cory James asked one man.

"Not really, when I'm crossing the streets, no," he said.

Other people behind the wheel made the bike lane their lane.

It even happened while James interviewed Cindy Smith, who was on a bike with her young daughter.

"Traffic is scary out here. They gotta do better," Smith said.

CBS2 viewers sent us their videos showing just how bad it is.

In one video from earlier this month, you can see a car driving down the sidewalk.

Then just a few days ago, a neighbor caught a firetruck going against traffic on 10th Avenue to avoid heavy congestion.

We caught a similar challenge for first responders Wednesday. It took an ambulance with its sirens on almost two minutes to go one block.

"It's ridiculous," neighbor Dave O'Halloran said.

Some neighbors believe congestion pricing could reduce traffic by charging a fee to drivers commuting during peak hours.

"It would definitely affect some people, I'm sure. It's gonna change their mind," O'Halloran said.

That initiative has been in the works in the Big Apple, and opponents say it could target people who live out of state.

MORE: Lawmakers Demand Federal Review Of Congestion Pricing's Impact On Commuters From New Jersey

But New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer is fighting back on that now.

Wednesday, he filed an amendment to a transportation bill that would stop the MTA from getting federal transit grants from New Jersey drivers traveling into New York City.

He told CBS2 in part, "New York is still trying to mooch off hardworking New Jersey commuters."

But one New Jersey driver said he would pay the surcharge because he is tired of sitting in his car for about an hour each day.

CBS2 reached out the MTA to get an update on the congestion pricing plan but did not hear back.

However, later, we learned the agency's chief financial officer, Bob Foran, said in a board meeting Wednesday, "We're not in a position now to really be needing absolutely at this time, point in time, the congestion pricing proceeds for the capital program."

The CFO was responding to someone who asked about congestion pricing passing to help sustain the budget. The CFO says that money actually would not go towards the operational budget.

Still, it is unclear where the MTA is in the process of launching congestion pricing and if and when it will happen.

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